From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Chief Executive Officer of Zeetin Engineering Limited, Azibaola Robert has said that his firm was building a N6 billion complex in Abuja with a view to training Nigerian engineers, creating jobs, exporting metal products and tackling capital flight by halting billions of dollars spent annually on importation of metal products.
He made the disclosure at the weekend when the Council for the Regulation of Engineering In Nigeria (COREN) visited the facility on a working visit.
According to him, the firm has so far spent about N3.5 billion to achieve a 70 per cent completion of the project and will require additional N2.5 billion to get it to full completion
He said: “My long term goal is to die a happy man. My short term goal is to develop technology in Nigeria. I am so pained that in our country, we have to look outside to solve the problems of our teaming population. Any little metal you get is imported from abroad. “Developing these basic metals is not rocket science and even when you talk about rocket science, we can get it done in Nigeria. So, what I am doing here is simply working to start a process that may catalyse others while I am still alive and energetic. When we talk about technology or tech companies, most of them are basically importing computer technology (parts) and assembling them in Nigeria. We should be able to manufacture things fully in Nigeria.
“For instance, some machines are made up of sheets of metal. If I were to import them and assemble them in Nigeria, I would need more than one container. But if I bring those sheets and cut them into this machine, I can bring ten metals worth to cut into a machine.
“So, with one container, I can bring ten machines to cut metals and manufacture. When you talk about writing computer programs for machinery, we have tons of Nigerians in the US and Europe working with big firms. They are willing to work with us and I am in contact with a few of them”.
On support received from government agencies, he said: “To be fair to the ministry of Science and Technology, we haven’t approached them. But the Bank of Industry (BOI) and NEXIM Bank have been supportive though we haven’t gotten any facility from them. Both parties have been here and they have given us assurances that they are going to sponsor the completion of this project”.
Earlier in his remarks, COREN President, Ali Rabiu hailed the Zeetin Engineering management for the audacious project, saying it will guarantee a cutback on huge foreign exchange spend on overseas training for Nigerian engineers and product importation.
“When we travel out, people take us on excursions to come to their factories and they are really not better than this.
“I would like to commend the promoter of this venture, that we travel out to find, we now have it right here in Abuja. We have issues with training engineers and technologists, but I want to believe that this place will be a good training ground for upcoming engineers and technologists”, he stated.